Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Project

CharlasQueer and Trans Lit

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Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Project

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Sep 22, 2010, 9:55 am

I'm cross-posting this is a number of groups, so please forgive me if you've seen this already.

In his column today, Dan Savage discusses the suicide of Billy Lucas, a gay teenager who killed himself due to the bullying and torment he faced in school. Says Dan: " I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So he has started the "It Gets Better" project, a YouTube channel where gays and lesbians can post videos to talk to kids about their lives, to give them hope.

Please help.

Sep 24, 2010, 3:09 pm

Definitely dig it. One does wonder how effective it will be.

Will parents come up with ways of blocking access to it? And will closeted teens even have the sense of self to even look at that?

Sep 24, 2010, 3:17 pm

> 2

Hard to say, of course. But if it saves one kid, it'll be worth the effort, don't you think?

Sep 24, 2010, 3:25 pm

Yeah, like I said, I definitely dig the idea behind the project. But in a society/social structure that proscribes against homosexuality, to even access information like that will take a strong will to begin with... It requires the strength of mind to accept one's own sense of self and shrug off society's sense of shame and guilt. So it's one of those things where the people that would benefit from it most will be those who will face the biggest hurdles in obtaining it.

If I recall correctly, one of the strongest correlations to how accepting of homosexuality one is, is how many members of the community one knows. (ie. Once you meet gay people, you realise that they're people.)

A watershed moment for me, growing up, came when a very good friend of mine revealed that he had a crush on me. Whilst it wasn't something that I reciprocated, it forced me to examine my own thoughts at the time and realise that it didn't change the fact that this person was one of the kindest, most considerate people I'd ever met. He'd been a great friend and very good person before that moment and his admission did nothing to change any of that.

Sep 24, 2010, 5:30 pm

Thanks for posting this, Lilithcat. It's important that someone is saying that it's silence, not conversation, about sexual orientation that's abusive.

One more reason to like Dan Savage.

Sep 24, 2010, 5:32 pm

I wonder if anyone is going to try to formalise a block on access to this (ie. Parents demanding that the site be deemed "unsuitable" for children in a school setting, or the like).

Sep 24, 2010, 5:41 pm

And googling "It gets better Dan Savage" comes under the News tab brings up a dearth of media coverage.

Sep 25, 2010, 12:41 am

> 7

But Googling "It gets better project" brings up a lot of coverage.

Sep 25, 2010, 3:14 pm

Hmmm. Does Google customise search results by user? 'Cause all I get is HuffPo, the Chicago Tribune and a bunch of blog/alternative press mentions.

Sep 30, 2010, 9:26 pm

Though I see ABC News ran a piece.

Ellen Degeneres also addressed the topic.

Sep 30, 2010, 10:44 pm

And CBC covered it on Wednesday.

Sep 30, 2010, 10:52 pm

Gets major coverage in Canada before the U.S.?


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